One advantage brick & mortar stores have over their online counterparts is that most are happy to split payment methods for you. Let’s say you want to buy a new TV, but you want to use three $50 Visa gift cards and pay the rest in cash. Walmart and Best Buy would have no problem doing this, but it’s impossible to do on Walmart.com or BestBuy.com. On those sites, it’s either this Visa or that MasterCard, not this Visa and this MasterCard.
Although Amazon doesn’t offer a way to use multiple payment methods directly, there is an easy workaround: just use the gift cards (or regular credit cards) to buy Amazon gift cards for yourself! If you order them online, Amazon will send you the code in an email, so you can easily apply them to your account. Using my TV example, you could convert the three $50 gift cards into $150 Amazon credit, which you could then apply towards a larger purchase, with the difference (if any) charged to a credit card.
There are a couple of other reasons why you might want to convert a gift card to an Amazon gift card.
For one, your Amazon gift balance never has any fees and never expires. Although most Visa, MasterCard and AMEX gift cards no longer have expiration dates or “dormancy fees” for not using them in a timely fashion, some still do. Plus, you can always lose or misplace a plastic gift card. If you’re a big Amazon shopper, convert that Visa gift card to Amazon credit immediately to ensure that you get the full value of the card.
Secondly, Amazon gift cards can be ordered in almost any amount. If you have several “leftover” gift cards with balances of $2.13 or $3.27, why not convert them to Amazon credit and get rid of the near-useless gift cards? Yes, you’ll have to process each card individually, but even $5 can buy you an MP3 album on Amazon, so why waste the money?